David Eugene Spencer
(September 15, 1932 - January 7, 2020)
The son of Frank Clifford and Agnes May Hoard Spencer, Dave and younger brother Don were raised in Manhattan Beach, California. Dave graduated with scholastic honors from El Segundo High School in 1950. Growing up in Manhattan Beach included hours on the beach, surfing, fishing, volleyball and basketball. After high school Dave attended Harvard, later transferring to Stanford and graduating in 1954.
The greatest event in Dave’s life happened in October 1953, when he met Gloria Beck on a blind date at the Stanford/UCLA football game. Though the US Army interrupted this love affair, sending Dave to Germany from 1954-1956, he nevertheless begged Gloria to marry him in Germany. She finally conceded on her birthday, Valentine’s Day 1956. They honeymooned all over Europe in Dave’s VW with his salary of $80.00 per week. Upon his discharge from the Army they honeymooned across the United States. The GI Bill funded Dave’s Teaching Credential and a master’s degree in Education and Mathematics from USC. He then taught at two Los Angeles high schools while he and Gloria started a family in Woodland Hills. Gloria gave birth to daughters Lisa and two years later, Pamela, and the family began a life together in Hidden Hills. Dave left teaching and transitioned to engineering with a focus on aerospace and the military. He worked briefly for North American Rocketdyne, then enjoyed a 23-year career with Hughes Aircraft Missile Systems Division in Canoga Park. After retiring, he consulted with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. He was also a Fellow, then the President, from 1977-1978 of the Military Operations Research Society. Dave was always an athlete. He learned to downhill ski at age 70, because so many of his friends did, and he was “missing out.” He also continued his lifelong passions for fishing, tennis and music.
David loved his family, Gloria’s cooking, bridge, Mexican food and margaritas, boating on the lake, jigsaw puzzles during a snowstorm, watching football and baseball (the Dodgers and Angels). He also enjoyed designing his custom-built homes, sharing conversation with everyday people, mathematics, science, mentoring, geography, history, and world news.
(February 14, 1934 – February 20, 2020)
Gloria Mervane Spencer was born and raised in Los Angeles, the only child of George and Mervane Beck. As a young girl she enjoyed cooking and baking with her mother, and spending time with her neighbors and girlfriends, some of whom she remained close to for a lifetime. She is remembered as a loyal friend that could always be counted on. She enjoyed dancing and loved music. She had a flair for style at a young age. After high school she continued her education at UCLA, receiving a BA in Education, and serendipitously meeting her future husband Dave. Gloria began teaching second grade before giving birth to daughters. Dave taught high school Mathematics and was an Athletic Director.
As the young married couple became a family, Gloria and Dave moved to Hidden Hills where they raised their two daughters, Lisa and Pamela. Gloria enjoyed being involved in the lives of her daughters through sewing their childhood clothes, Girl Scouts, Job’s Daughters, and their school activities. In their early years, she loved designing family-created Christmas cards, camping as a family, traveling, and enjoying adventures with her daughters and Dave. She always had a love for cooking and baking and opened their home for events or gatherings. Gloria created an atmosphere of style, color and comfort in their home. She also loved antique shopping and reveled in finds steeped in history and character. And when it came to entertaining in her home, Gloria was the consummate hostess. She enjoyed the preparation of every detail as much as the presentation, which was always impeccable. She was the hostess extraordinaire at picnics, Christmas dinners, retirement parties and countless other gatherings, many of them taking place in their home. Her elegance and joie de vivre were storied sensations. Gloria’s spectacular entertaining continued throughout the years in their homes in Hidden Hills, Mammoth Lakes and later in Westlake Village. Her efforts united their different circle of friends and created the opportunity for lifelong friendships. Dave and Gloria really enjoyed sing-a-longs in their home.
Dave and Gloria were married for almost 64 years and spent much of their time and efforts together. Both were deeply patriotic and supported affiliations such as the Young Americans. Gloria also served on the Assistance League of Los Angeles, Hilltoppers, and Young Life. She was active in their neighborhood church in Stephen’s Ministry, and served in various ways in her church and neighborhood communities. Dave served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and was on the New West Symphony’s Board of Directors.
They loved traveling and taking jazz cruises, and visited many countries during their lifetime. They enjoyed music at any time of the day, and were supporters of Dixieland bands, several community symphonies in Mammoth and the Conejo Valley, and loved musicals and classical music.
In their day to day life, they also enjoyed many happy years with their dogs, Heidi, Schatzi and Molly.
They were blessed to have so much time together, to travel and to enjoy life together. And though their last years were rife with health troubles, they held each other close and supported each other in hope and prayer.
They are no doubt dancing together in eternity.
Photo Gallery & Home Movies
Feel free to click to enlarge
Dave & Gloria, 1954-59
Family Start, 1959-69
Our family is eternally grateful for all the love, support and prayers we’ve received for our parents. Each one of you who’s been part of their lives is part of their living legacy. They cherished time with family and the special people they knew through their many circles of friends. Thank you for being an important part of their lives!
In lieu of flowers, we ask that Dad and Mom’s love of service be remembered through a donation in their names to one of the non-profit groups dear to Dad and Mom’s hearts:
Thank you for your ongoing prayers as we walk through the journey ahead.
Pamela Spencer Nishimoto
Please leave a sweet memory of Gloria & Dave
Silent Night with Andre Rieu - While serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, Dad sought out the church where this song was written. He spent Christmas Eve in the chapel, missing his beloved Gloria (soon to be sent for and married on Valentine’s Day!) O Holy Night is another beautiful Andre Rieu holiday song special to Mom and Dad.
Some Enchanted Evening from Rogers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific with the legendary Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza. Can imagine Dad thinking of this lovesong when asking his beautiful — met on a blind date - Gloria to marry him.
Mantovani and His Orchestra - Greatest Hits - Mom and Dad were thrilled to experience a live concert by Mantovani while honeymooning in Europe, and, his music filled their entire lives. Mantovani CDs were still in their disc-player when they met Jesus.
Always by Irving Berlin: First recorded version. Irving gifted composer royalties for this romantic waltz to his wife as a wedding present in 1926. Dad and Mom had Lisa play Always for their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Greatest Hits: turntable favorite of Mom and Dad’s our entire lifetime. Frequently the backdrop to backyard chores followed by a swim in the pool and dinner on the patio.
Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Disney’s epic Mary Poppins: a song Mom loved to sing, from one of our favorite family films.
Ghost Riders in the Sky with folk-singer Burl Ives - First recorded version after composer’s original. Dad loved this song and taught me how to play it with him on the piano; Johnny Cash did an epic cover.
Final Jazz Bash by the Bay concert in Monterey, California (2019) by Mom and Dad’s beloved High Sierra Jazz Band, whom they’d traveled with around the world with their Dixieland friends:
Edelweiss from the Sound of Music - Rare recording by actor Christopher Plummer. A family favorite musical and beloved song by both our parents, which Dad requested for our father-daughter dance at my wedding.
Christmas 2019; NYEs w/Spencer/Hoard fam — Auld Lang Syne with Andre Rieu.
We’ll Meet Again with Mom and Dad’s beloved High Sierra Jazz Band: Signature song they would play as their finale at every performance. Fans would all link arms and join in with the band singing. Mom and Dad are singing with us all now...